Ep. #73 Demystifying Tantric Sex and Tantra with Mark Michaels & Patricia Johnson
Some of the other names you would have heard are Tantra and Neo-Tantra. We're definitely working our way into the realm of advanced sexual skills today. More specifically, sexual skills that are most relevant within relationships.
To cover this topic, we have two guests: Mark Michaels and Patricia Johnson, a couple who have been teaching Tantra since 1999 for 15 years. They have run seminars all over the U.S. and all around the world on the topic, and written many books, including two award-winning books on the topic: The Essence of Tantric Sexuality and Tantra for Erotic Empowerment.
As you will see in today's interview, Mark and Patricia are not only very knowledgeable in the field, but also both very open and generous with recounting their own personal experiences, which is always important to make this information real for us and to make it come alive.
It certainly inspired me to dig deeper into this subject myself in the future as we really just started to scratch the surface of Tantric sex and Tantra. So consider this an introduction into Tantra to see if it is a good fit for you and to wet your appetite to learn a bit more about it. It's certainly a topic we will be exploring a lot deeper in future episodes.
Specifically, in this episode you'll learn about:
- The similarity between the last names of Mark and Patricia (Michaels and Johnson) and the Showtime TV series Masters of Sex, which is based on sexologists Masters and Johnson (02:35)
- Background of how Mark and Patricia got involved with Tantra and their learning process (03:30)
- An overview of traditional Tantra and types of Tantra (11:38)
- What type of Tantra is more traditional today considering the varying degrees of Tantra understanding? (15:06)
- The practicalities of Tantra, understanding what it's all about, and its criticism (16:50)
- Tantra as a spiritual and self-development journey (20:15)
- How Tantra is seen as fitting together with kundalini energy, chakras, yoga, and other areas (22:05)
- Tantra sex: where to start (25:54)
- The practice and importance of eye-gazing with your partner as a first step in Tantra (27:50)
- Tantra breathing techniques and directing energy within the body, and apply those techniques in sex (36:40)
- Tantra today in western sexology or culture: the emphasis on orgasm versus the experience of sex (39:42)
- Growing the sexual experience between you and your partner (41:55)
- The sexual response cycle (Masters and Johnson) versus the Tantra sex view (45:48)
- Self stimulation from a Tantra perspective in knowing your own body and working with your energy (48:10)
- Maintaining energy in Tantra sex (50:40)
- The best sexual experience or aspect of a relationship Patricia and Michael have experienced due to Tantra (52:44)
- Recommendations for high quality advice in the area of Tantra, dating, sex, and relationships (55:42)
- Top recommendations to help men begin Tantra or improve it in their life, as well as with dating, sex, and relationships (56:36)
Items Mentioned in this Episode include:
- Partners In Passion: A Guide to Great Sex, Emotional Intimacy and Long-term Love: Patricia and Mark's book for creating real loving and romantic sexual relationships.
- Great Sex Made Simple: Tantric Tips to Deepen Intimacy & Heighten Pleasure: Mark mentioned their book as an introduction to Tantra Sex.
- Tantra for Erotic Empowerment: The Key to Enriching Your Sexual Life: Patricia recommended their workbook as a followup to Great Sex Made Simple.
- Tantrapm: Mark and Patricia's website.
- William Masters and Virginia Johnson: Angel mentioned Masters & Johnson when referencing the sexual response cycle versus the Tantra sex view. William H. Masters and Virginia E. Johnson pioneered research into the nature of human sexuality.
- Tantra: Path of Ecstasy (Georg Feuerstein): Angel mentioned Georg and his book when discussing the confused understanding of Tantra.
- David Gordon White: He is the Professor of Comparative Religions at the University of California. He is also an authority on Tantra having edited Tantra in Practice and wrote its introduction, considered to be the most comprehensive definition of the multi-faceted tradition known as Tantra. Mark mentioned David during the overview of traditional Tantra.
- Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh (aka Osho): Mark noted guru Osho and his deep roots in Neo-Trantra.
- Barbara Carrellas: Recommended as an excellent Neo-Tantra teacher to work with. She is considered an ecstasy expert and offers sex / life coaching.
Patricia's and Mark's recommendation in the area of Tantra, dating, sex, and relationships
Books, Courses and Training from
- Mark A. Michaels
- Patricia Johnson
Full Text Transcript of the Interview
[Angel Donovan]: So Michaels and Johnson, have you been keeping up with the shows of Masters of Sex on TV lately?
[Mark Michaels]: You know, we haven’t see it; it’s definitely on our list [chuckles].
[Patricia Johnson]: No, we haven’t. Sorry [chuckles].
[Angel Donovan]: Does anyone ever refer to you? Because the similarity is just a little bit too close there. Masters and Johnson – Michaels and Johnson.
[Mark Michaels]: When our first book came out, one of the blurbers described as being a Masters and Johnson for the 21st century, so we kind of ran with it from there.
[Patricia Johnson]: Yeah.
[Angel Donovan]: That’s nice. That’s not a bad way to start out at all, is it?
[Mark Michaels]: No [chuckles].
[Angel Donovan]: That’s quite a good recommendation there. So just for the audience, Masters and Johnson were some of the first sexologists to technically study sex and so on, and there’s a show called Masters of Sex on TV right now, which is pretty popular. It’s like a drama based on the whole relationship they had.
Today we’re talking about Tantra and Tantric Sex. First of all, I just wanted to get some quick background on you guys. When did you get into this and how did you get into this whole area?
[Mark Michaels]: For my part, in my teenage years and sort of early sexual experiences, I had occasional moments that were transcendent and amazing. I knew there was something there in sex, but I never knew how to tap into that at will.
Time went on, and then in the mid to late 1980s there were a few books on Tantra that came out and were popular and I picked them up and looked at them. I just kind of thought they were weird [chuckles] and couldn’t really relate to the diagrams and the language and the new age-y feel that they had.
But I remained intrigued and about 10 years later, my first marriage had ended and seeing on the Internet that there were a lot of people teaching some form of Tantra in California, I finally screwed up my courage and went out and did a private session with someone and then did a weekend that had a little bit of Tantra in the mix, and I was hooked. I just started studying more deeply and kind of learned what I could.
[Angel Donovan]: Just for the audience, what hooked you? What was it about this first experience that made it something that hooked you? Because I imagine, most of our audience have never – they’ve heard of tantra, and this is why I’m doing this episode because you hear about it, but you’re not really quite sure what it is.
I think we’ll get into why people are maybe a bit confused about the subject and what it is also. But I think it’s something they’ve never even thought of getting into also. What was it that hooked you that first time?
[Mark Michaels]: Well it’s really extraordinary and maybe hard for some of the audience to actually believe; I certainly never imagined it for myself. The first day I got out there, I booked this session with the woman who was teaching the tantric part of the weekend. I go to her place and she says, ‘Okay, the first thing I want to teach you is this technique we call streaming.”
It basically involved rocking your pelvis, pulsing your pc or pubococcygeal muscles – that’s the muscles you use to start or stop the flow of pee – and breathing and moaning and doing this rhythmically. She demonstrated it to me and within a couple of minutes she was having an orgasm – hands-free, fully clothed.
She looks at me and she says, “Now you try it.” [Chuckling] So I did, and it felt a little awkward. It seemed as though maybe 10 minutes went by, I didn’t have any genital arousal, I wasn’t touching myself, I was just doing this movement and breathing and rocking, and I had this incredible experience.
It was basically a full-body, non-genital orgasm, and I was truly in a state of just altered consciousness for several days after this experience.
[Angel Donovan]: Wow.
[Mark Michaels]: We do mention this in our current book, Partners in Passion, but I don’t like to tell this story too much because I don’t like to give people huge expectations, but it was really life-changing for me.
[Angel Donovan]: Right. And then you’ve just alluded to – it’s different for everyone, I imagine.
[Patricia Johnson]: Absolutely, absolutely.
[Mark Michaels]: And some people probably would get nothing from the technique, but I think a lot of people, if they learn – and guys especially – if they learn that there’s more to having an orgasm than getting an erection and ejaculating, and it really is a full-body and an energetic experience, you can just open yourself up to a whole new spectrum of pleasurable experiences.
[Patricia Johnson]: Well, what I’d do in my college years – it’s similar to Mark. I have had sexual experiences and they seemed – I mean, at times, mind-blowing, but then again sometimes it would seem like I got a glimpse into a realm that I thought that was more potential than what I was experiencing.
So I started reading what I could on anything, any technologies that would allow me to tap into that sexual energy, to cultivate it and to share it with a partner. That led me to reading about Taoist practices, Western Sex magic practices and also Tantra. Once I’ve started reading those texts, for me, it was very much a description of what I was experiencing doing sex and it really gave me tools and frameworks to start working with it.
I had always been interested in that, but at the time, when you’re with younger men in particular, sometimes it’s challenging to look at sex as a way of – not as something you should already know how to do and we don’t talk about it. Talk about it, explore it and see what you can learn about one another.
I didn’t find any partners that were willing to do that and gosh, years went by and I saw an announcement that there was going to be a Tantra lecture in Manhattan and I went to it, and it was Mark’s first time lecturing after he had been certified as a teacher [chuckling]. So we met there.
[Angel Donovan]: And did you guys connect? Obviously, you’re together now. Did you connect pretty immediately? You’ve been teaching together for quite a while – how did that kind of evolve?
[Patricia Johnson]: Well, it’s an interesting –.
[Angel Donovan]: Was it a Masters of Sex kind of drama for many years, or –?
[Patricia Johnson]: Gosh, I – no, actually remarkably drama-free. We exchanged emails for a while and I found it very refreshing to speak about sexuality in this way – ways where you could talk about the energy of it, and it was just wonderful.
And then we decided to get together and just continue the conversation over coffee, and it was [chuckles] –.
[Mark Michaels]: We basically, at that point, it was maybe two or three weeks after we’d med and we’d been exchanging emails. We didn’t date, we didn’t flirt – we just decided we were going to practice together. And here we are 15 years later – almost 16 years later.
[Angel Donovan]: Still –?
[Patricia Johnson]: Still practicing, yes, and still learning.
[Angel Donovan]: Still practicing [chuckles].
[Patricia Johnson]: It’s – wow. Oh, gosh.
[Angel Donovan]: Oh really?
[Patricia Johnson]: It just gets better.
[Angel Donovan]: That’s interesting. So is this something that you think you’ll every stop learning about and does it go through a curve, like you learn pretty rapidly for the first year or something and then it kind of plateaus and then you have –. Could you explain how that – because it’s been a long time, so it’s interesting that you’re still learning about it?
[Mark Michaels]: Well, in terms of the tantric tradition itself, after we got together we really wanted to find someone who was traditionally trained and initiated in the authentic tradition. He’s a Westerner, our teacher, but he started going to India in the early 1950s and was initiated as a Swami there.
A lot of the Tantra that gets talked about in the West is really just about the sexual aspect, which is only a small piece of the whole tradition. We wanted much more than – we love the sex part, but we really wanted to have a context for the whole thing. The tradition is so vast and complex that you could spend several lifetimes trying to absorb it all.
[Angel Donovan]: Right. So the sexual parts are a relatively and you could learn that within a year or –?
[Patricia Johnson]: I think just a few basic concepts can set people off in experiencing their sexuality in whole new way. What Mark mentioned earlier is huge – huge to consider your sexuality as something that exists beyond just your physical, muscular reactions, nerve reactions, and really recognize that pleasure can be expanded and experienced in virtually every part of the body. Just knowing that can set you on a whole new path.
[Angel Donovan]: Okay, so I want to take a step back here to talk about this in more depth because as you’ve alluded to, it seems that there’s traditional Tantra and Tantric Sex, and then there’s all these other things that have sprung out over time since the 1950s since it has come to the West.
I think that part of, in a way, many people have heard about Tantra and Tantric Sec, but they’re pretty unsure about it because it seems like there’s a lot of different versions of it. I don’t know if you can clearly give an overview of what it is originally and what it has become today and the kind of things you encounter about it and what you consider as – I guess you guys are more involved in the traditional aspect of it, and so the value of following the traditional versus all the different other practices that are out there today.
[Mark Michaels]: I would say that what we are is we’re rooted in the tradition, but we’re also very, very aware of the fact that we’re 21st century Americans – we’re not 8th century Indians. The culture in which Tantra evolved is very, very different from ours. India today is also really different. The question for us is more, how do we take what are traditional training and knowledge and make it applicable for people who are living in a very different society.
So really quickly, since I’m more of the history guy, the Tantra tradition – there’s a book called the Kiss of the Yogini which I think is the best sort of academic treatment of the tradition out there. The thesis of that book is that Tantra evolved as a specific tradition, say, in about 400 or 500 in the early common era in India. Roots go back way farther than that, but its distinctness took shape then.
At the core of that was the sexual ritual in which the female practitioners would actually go through a spirit possession and be possessed by these ferocious deities, and they would transmit the energy of that possession to the male practitioners through the sexual ritual. The females – women, in the original tradition, were really the initiators and the carriers of the power.
Over the next few hundred years, it sort of got spiritualized as the way that David Gordon White describes it, and mainstreamed into more conventional Hindu and Buddhist thinking of the time. And so both Hinduism and Buddhism have tantric currents within them.
Fast forward 1500 years or so and talk about the 20th century, beginning in the early 20th century, there was an attempt by some in India to reclaim and validate Tantra. A British judge who was an early supporter of Indian independence was very involved with that. He coined a term – Neotantra – which then was picked up another 40 or 50 years later by Osho Rajneesh, who called what he was teaching Neotantra.
He incorporated some tantric philosophy and a lot of pop psychology and a lot of other things and sort of blended them together and popularized what became the mainstream of what’s called Tantra in America today.
[Patricia Johnson]: So a lot of the miss that we encounter is that Tantra is equal to Sacred Sex, for instance, or that Tantra is a form of sex work, which we have nothing against. It’s just not Tantra, so to speak [crosstalk 14:43].
[Mark Michaels]: Yeah, we gave a talk in New York City and a woman came up to us at the end and she said, “I’m a professional escort, and in my business, when people talk about Tantra, they mean a prostate massage.”
[Angel Donovan]: Oh, really? Interesting. [Chuckling]
[Mark Michaels]: So yeah, it’s been watered down and applied to all kinds of things and really have –.
[Patricia Johnson]: And used for marketing purposes and it, by all means, does not encompass the whole tradition [chuckles].
[Angel Donovan]: Right. And so what proportion of the Tantra out there, or the Neotantra, is more traditional versus all the different spinoffs today? Is it 20%? Because it seems like it’s a vast misunderstanding compared to other areas, so it’s like everyone has their own interpretation.
[Patricia Johnson]: Yeah.
[Mark Michaels]: There are not a lot of people who have traditional training or teaching the sexual aspects, so a very small minority. There are people who've got very, very strong roots in yoga and may have some traditional training who are doing the sexual stuff, but there are a very, very large percentage of people who are totally coming out of a Neotantric kind of background, which can be great and it can be fine and it can be really valuable for people.
Where it gets problematic for us is when people aren’t really forthright about what their background is, or they just make stuff up and may say they’re teaching Tantra. We’ve heard people say the most bizarre things.
[Patricia Johnson]: That Tantra is channeled teachings or stuff like that. Just for your listeners to clarify, what we mean by traditional Tantra is a concept of lineage. That means that you have a direct line to a teacher who has a direct line to the teacher before him or her, and it goes back. There’s a teacher to student line – it’s lineage, yeah.
[Mark Michaels]: Initiation is really a – in the classical tradition, it’s an initiatory tradition. There’s an idea that when you have a teacher and the teacher initiates you or empowers you to go out and teach others, that you’ve been given a kind of energy from that tradition that’s behind you.
[Angel Donovan]: Right. I think that it seems like there’s quite a bit of conflict. When I was researching for this, I came across some – I’d like to get into the practicalities of what it actually is to give people in the audience a much better, clearer idea of what this is all about. But first, some of the criticism I came across was a guy called Georg Feuerstein.
In his book, Tantra: The Path of Ecstasy – I’m assuming you know about this – basically his summary is that a lot of people are attracted to Tantra for purely genital impulses or erotic emotional needs, but they want to clothe it in an aura of spirituality. Certainly, the only time I ever came across Tantra was talking to a girl who was probably working in a modern spirituality business. I was actually on a date with her; she pretty much had the same view that people were using Tantra as an excuse and putting this cloth of spirituality around sex just so they could have a lot more sex.
She was using it in a very derogatory way that she was looking at it, kind of a negative way. I’m just wondering, is this something you often come across, this negative criticism, today?
[Patricia Johnson]: Yeah, I would say, we call that spiritual excuses or spiritual justification for your actions. What it reflects is that there’s a cultural negativity toward hookups or casual sex as a valid way of expressing your sexuality and a valid way of being a sexual person in the world. Or just sex for pleasure’s sake.
Sometimes couching it in a spiritual term then suddenly gives people license to have more sex, I guess. Does that sound like what your friend was saying?
[Mark Michaels]: We also frankly do get criticized by the very conservative and traditional people. I mean, I’ve seen things said about us that we’re doing the same thing, and it is sticky.
The problem with the conflation of Tantra and sacred sexuality, or the assumption that that’s all there is to it, is that then it becomes a replication of American puritan way of thinking. The sex that you have that is spiritualized – you light candles and you do all this ritual around it – that’s sacred sex, and the quickie that you had or the encounter with someone, a one-night stand, is profane. And so we’re back into this sex-negative, dichotomous thinking.
[Patricia Johnson]: But it’s our understanding that anytime you’re sexually aroused, you’re in an altered state of consciousness and thereby that is in itself a sacred state.
[Mark Michaels]: It’s what you do that’s important afterwards. To go back to one of your early questions about “can you learn it all?” The attitude in Tantra – and I think this is one of the ways in which we try to translate the ancient tradition into the modern one – is that there’s the potential to be, for want of a better word, enlightened in any experience that you have.
There’s a potential for something mystical to happen in anything that you do. It’s really about bringing your awareness to it and treating your experiences without an attitude of “I want an outcome” but “I’m going to explore; I’m going to experiment; I’m going to see what happens when I do this.” I think, for me, that’s the core of what the tantric approach to living is about: it’s about thinking of yourself as an ongoing experiment.
[Angel Donovan]: Mm-hm. When you say Tantra – because the other part of it, as you say, is not about the sex; it’s about the spirituality and the journey. As many people are going through their own kind of spiritual and self-development journey, this is kind of very similar, right? It’s just one view of how we’re growing as human beings, as we go through life. Is that a fair way to explain it?
[Mark Michaels]: Yeah, I think where it departs a little bit from many, many other traditions – and I think one of the things that appeals to us about it is that it really doesn’t create hierarchies and it doesn’t, as a tradition, it doesn’t reject anything.
A lot of people and a lot of the sex-negativity in the spiritual realm is about denying the body, and it’s about trying to transcend something. The tantric approach is that the transcendent exists in everything; it’s how you approach it that matters.
[Angel Donovan]: Okay. So in a way, tantric sex is just applying the Tantra to the area of tantric sex – to sex – and that’s become more popular, but it wasn’t as emphasized in its roots. When you first talked about the history, it sounded like some of the first steps were basically sexual in their nature.
[Mark Michaels]: Yes, and even as it got more mainstream, the sexual ritual continued and it’s still practiced today. But on the other hand, many, many tantric practitioners – probably the vast majority today – are celibate. Buddhist monks – Tibetan Buddhist monks – are practicing a form of Tantra.
[Patricia Johnson]: I think you can hit on something very important. It’s a tantric attitude, and if you understand the attitude and the concepts, you can apply it to virtually every aspect of life.
[Angel Donovan]: Some of the other topics, do they kind of dovetail with things like Kundalini energy, activating the chakras. For some people, these sound a bit “ooh,” that’s why I wanted to bring this stuff up, to tackle these kinds of ideas, and also its relationship with Yoga. Could you highlight how you see these dovetailing with these areas?
[Mark Michaels]: In our tradition and in our training, the Kundalini energy is nothing really – it’s the life force that we’re born with. It’s in all of us. Its activity is increased when we’re in a state of sexual arousal, but it’s always there.
[Patricia Johnson]: There’s no Kundalini awakening. Sometimes there’s a lot of mythology around that, causing psychotic episodes, or people not being able to handle the energy, and that’s not really our understanding. Our understanding is that it does flow through you every day, and in every moment, but the tantric technologies teach you how to tap into it consciously and by choice, and then cultivate it and expand it. It’s not like you have to blast through your chakra system and have this dramatic awakening.
[Mark Michaels]: And to pick up on the chakra system, a lot of people talk about this and attach all kinds of ideas to it. The important thing about the chakra system is really whether there’s any physical reality to the chakras or not, it’s a way of envisioning and imagining and working with your body, using the chakras as a kind of map for when you’re directing energy. Your imagination’s where it all starts, really, and so if you’re thinking about the chakras, they can be a vehicle for concentrating your imagination.
[Angel Donovan]: So basically the chakra’s for people at home [clear 23:31]. This is the way I understand it: they’re just points on the body, a bit like acupuncture points, where there’s energy focused on the body. Is that how you explain it? It’s about focusing on those areas in order to let the energy flow? I’m probably explaining this in a terrible way [laughter].
[Patricia Johnson]: They actually exist within the body cavity, so they’re full-body. Unfortunately, a lot of the images of the chakra system show just the surface of the body, and then they show these different geometric patterns or something that represents each chakra. They exist within the body so when you’re with your lover, you can touch the back of their body and encourage that erotic energy to flow to the point where your hand is, for instance.
[Mark Michaels]: There are lots of deep and complex esoteric components to the study of the chakra system. Just to give one example of that, the first chakra which is often called the Root Chakra is the floor of the pelvic bowl. It’s our grounding; some people talk about it as being survival – it’s the most primal of the chakras.
It has an associated sense, which is smell. If you think about the sense of smell, the sense of smell is our most primal sense. It bypasses the narrative part of the brain.
[Patricia Johnson]: Right, and in fact, it’s probably that sense of smell that really attracts you to other people more so than the outer qualities of them. It’s very, very primal. If your listeners have ever had the experience of being with someone and they seem great, they look great and everything and they just don’t smell quite right. It’s just like the chemistry is not quite there, and that’s really powerful.
[Angel Donovan]: Right, and I know there’s a scientific research behind that [unclear 25:19] and so on as well. That’s definitely something I’ve experienced also with myself is women that smell great [chuckling], you want to spend more time with them because of that, that’s for sure.
[Mark Michaels]: They may not smell great to somebody else – that’s the real interesting part.
[Patricia Johnson]: Yeah, that’s what’s –.
[Angel Donovan]: Right. And we’re not talking about perfume here, just to be clear. It’s the way the person smells. Okay, great.
I wanted to touch on those things, because I’m sure people are going to hear about chakras and Kundalini energy. To just give a rough overview – I know all of these subjects are pretty deep and so on, but just so that they got some kind of idea of what that’s about.
In terms of the practice, where do people start when it comes to tantric sex? What are the first steps – where would someone go to take their first step? Do they normally go to some kind of meeting like what you went to? Is it some kind of course that they look up on the Internet or somewhere? How do people generally start? Perhaps it’s a book, like one of your books, for example.
[Mark Michaels]: Well our first three books are really focused on the sexual aspects of Tantra and actually our third book is called Great Sex Made Simple, and I think it’s a very easy and accessible introduction to the sexual aspects of Tantra. It probably has stuff that people who are actually more familiar with it will be a little surprised by as well.
Great Sex Made Simple, I think, is a great starting point –.
[Patricia Johnson]: Great starting point, and then our second book, Tantra for Erotic Empowerment, is actually a workbook. Ideally, you want to learn in person, but books really open up the whole world and that’s a great place to start with information. And then once you’re armed with information, you can start to investigate anybody who’s teaching in your area, but please, please look at their bio carefully and see if it resonates with you before you commit to anything.
[Angel Donovan]: What kind of things would you look out for? Anyway, I like the approach. I mean, if you’re interested in tantric sex and what it may offer in terms of expanding your experience of sex, then reading a book is obviously a good first step. Although we’re not talking about basically reading the books and applying at home; it’s not like a home course where you can start practicing Tantra yourself – or you can?
[Patricia Johnson]: Yes, actually both of those books. Great Sex Made Simple is tip format; each chapter is about 600-800 words, and you can crack open a chapter, read it to your lover and give it a try that night. It’s really fun and very useful in that way.
[Angel Donovan]: Okay. So if you have a partner, you can. What would be the first thing you might read and start working on with your partner as a first step?
[Patricia Johnson]: Eye gazing.
[Mark Michaels]: Yeah. I mean, in the partnered context, it’s derived from a classical practice. In the partnered context, this is the first thing that we teach; it’s the simplest and probably the most profound and a lot of people don’t do it. It’s very simply formally gazing into one another’s eyes for a period of three to five minutes.
For some people it may be a little hard to go that long at first, but build up to that. This does come out of a classical practice which is used for meditation, and it is a form of meditating on each other. It works on multiple levels because it harmonizes your moods, it recreates the emotional experience of falling in love on a regular basis.
[Patricia Johnson]: Right, because if you think – watch young lovers somewhere in public and how they can’t take their eyes off of one another. Oftentimes they’re doing this in silence; they’re just totally enthralled with gazing at one another and people think, “Aww, that’s so cute, they’re looking at each other so much because they’re falling in love.” But what’s really happening is that they’re falling in love because they are meeting each other’s gaze, and this is really powerful for people who are interested in having long-term relationships. It’s huge.
[Angel Donovan]: Yeah, I didn’t know this was a tantric practice, but I’ve done these kinds of things myself. I would say, be careful with it. Like you say, I do it inside a relationship, not so much outside a relationship because it can be quite powerful in terms of the connection to both sides.
[Patricia Johnson]: Yeah, we’re really laughing because this is the first practice we did together.
[Angel Donovan]: And here we are 16 years later [chuckling].
[Patricia Johnson]: Here we are, yes, yes. Powerful.
[Mark Michaels]: And we still do it all this time later. One of the really wonderful things about it, and then this is maybe not purely a Tantra thing – well it is in the sense that because it’s a meditative technique – if we feel like there’s conflict brewing between us, we will, instead of having a conversation about it, 95% of the time, we’ll take a time out and we’ll gaze into one another’s eyes. That’s a way of diffusing a lot of the intensity that might come with the conflict that’s emerging and getting back into harmony so that we can address the problem.
[Patricia Johnson]: What we like to say is while communication is important, talking is overrated – really overrated [chuckles].
[Angel Donovan]: Right. Often, it’s not about what is being said; it can be about other things that haven’t been said.
Just for the guys at home, we’ve often spoken about mirror neurons on this show with David Tian, on account that [clear 30:40] he’s a professor, and I think this is very related to this topic of course from a scientific aspect. This is really a technique for enabling you to connect, as you’ve been saying, and it’s very surprising.
The people at home are going to think, “It’s just looking at someone’s eyes,” but until you’ve actually tried this, I don’t think you can really understand. And it is very uncomfortable at first. I think everyone has this period where you want to look away.
For instance, when I’ve done it with my partner, I’ve introduced it to them and I have to keep asking them to keep looking and stay looking, stay with me on it, because the natural inhibition is what will make you look away all the time. Is this what you found with your students and in general?
[Mark Michaels]: There are a couple of other things. People will often laugh. We’ve also found with long-term couples that many of them have really lost the habit of doing this, and that can be a real sign that things are not going very well, if it’s too difficult.
We had one person say to their partner, “You’re not doing it right!”
[Angel Donovan]: Okay [chuckles].
[Mark Michaels]: That’s a sign that something’s amiss.
[Angel Donovan]: Right, because of course there’s no right way to look at someone in the eyes.
[Mark Michaels]: Well, we have a certain technique that the way that we teach it is specific, and there’s a good reason for it. Patricia will explain the reason, I’ll give the technique. Basically, when I’m looking into her eyes, I’m not putting any attention at all on my left eye; I’m just thinking about looking into her left eye, so straight across out of my right. I’m trying to focus as much of my awareness on that eye and looking into her eye as I possibly can.
[Patricia Johnson]: Right eye to left eye. There’s esoteric reasons why this is powerful. The right side of the body is seen as the energetic sending part of the body and left is more receptive. Also, brain function that plays into this and that gives the left hemisphere a task – just a slight task. It says, “Okay, I’m going to focus my right eye into my partner’s left eye” and that’s sometimes enough to silence that chatter that can happen, especially if you’re dealing with conflict.
It just gives it – we call it “throwing your left hemisphere a bone to chew on” – just enough activity so that the mind can free up and get into that meditative state.
[Mark Michaels]: There’s also research that shows that people, generally speaking, reveal their emotions more on their left side – on the left side of the face than on the right. This has been known for about 40 years, and I think poker players have known it for longer than that [chuckling].
[Angel Donovan]: Okay, small tip there [chuckling].
[Mark Michaels]: But when you’re doing this in a dyadic situation, you’re not thinking about, “Oh I’m trying to read what her mood is” but unconsciously, you’re going to be picking it up. That’s another way that you’re getting back to balance with one another.
[Angel Donovan]: So just for people at home, just because it might be a bit confusing – your right eye looking at her left eye is the eye directly in front of you, looking at you.
[Patricia Johnson]: Yeah.
[Mark Michaels]: Correct.
[Angel Donovan]: And then she’s doing the same with her sight – she’s looking from her right to left eye directly in front.
[Patricia Johnson]: Yes. Another beautiful way to practice this is alone at a mirror, and it’s really, really important. We’re not taught to regard ourselves with reverence or appreciation and/or a sense of caretaking. We look at ourselves in the mirror, we make sure everything’s in place, and then we rush off. We kind of objectify ourselves, and it’s important to, once a day, look at yourself and really look with appreciation and the deep love you have for yourself and really make that eye contact. It’s really incredible.
[Mark Michaels]: Yeah, I mean we taught this early on when we were teaching at an event. A few years went by and someone came up to us and said, “You probably don’t remember me, but a few years back, you taught this workshop and you talked about eye gazing with myself in the mirror and I went home and I started doing it and it completely changed my life.” He felt that it had given him a much deeper sense of love and appreciation for himself and that then freed him up to interact with other people a lot more freely and easily.
[Patricia Johnson]: Yeah and this is really important. If you have a deep, rich relationship with yourself – one that’s filled with love and admiration – then you can tap into that potential with others. If you haven’t cultivated that or really looked into what it feels like to have that kind of self-relationship, you’re never going to find it externally.
[Angel Donovan]: Where I first came across this was actually during sex. I think you guys are talking about basically sitting there and just looking into each other’s eyes, but where I encountered it actually was during sex and that made sex a lot more powerful.
So just to clarify, you are talking about basically sitting in place? Maybe the first time you met in a coffee shop and you were doing it in a coffee shop?
[Mark Michaels]: No, we talked in the coffee shop and then the first time we got together to practice sexually together, before we did anything directly physical, we did the eye gazing. And then it became something that we did on a formal basis every time we saw each other at first, and now it’s second nature and we don’t do it as a formal practice unless there’s a real need to do it. Otherwise, we just find each other’s eyes all the time.
[Patricia Johnson]: You mentioned a really powerful technique and that’s to eye gaze during sex. That’s one way of working with the chakra system, right? You’ll be working with a third eye by eye gazing with your partner.
The really, really powerful time to do it is when you’re actually having an orgasm. It’s both coming – that energy will come through your eyes as well as you’ll feel it in your genitals, and it’s a nice accelerator.
[Mark Michaels]: And if you combine breathing with that, you’re amplifying the sexual experience exponentially, really.
[Angel Donovan]: Okay, let’s talk about the breathing, because I know that’s a big part of Tantra as well. What is it about the breathing that is important?
[Mark Michaels]: Well there are lots and lots of different breathing techniques, but the simplest answer is that in Tantra and yoga, breathing is the core of how we direct energy within the body. The idea is actually – you hear the word “prana” in yoga; prana doesn’t just refer to our breath, but it refers to the atmosphere around us and the energy that exists in the world that we’re taking in with every breath.
Pranayama actually can be translated in addition to “regulation of the breath” as “regulation of energy.” That’s kind of the philosophical foundation for it. What that means is that you can change your emotional state by changing the way that you breathe. If you’re in a sexual situation, if you’re both concentrating and aware of how you’re breathing, you can use that breath to alter the experience of sex in a myriad of different ways.
You could try breathing reciprocally, or you can try breathing in unison. Initially, especially, it’s good to breathe with vocalization.
[Patricia Johnson]: An exercise that your listeners might be interested in doing is during self-pleasuring. It’s a two-step exercise or two multiple-session exercise.
First, you just want to find out your normal pattern of breathing as you get into higher states of arousal and as you move into orgasm, what do you normally do with your breath. Once you understand that, the next –.
[Mark Michaels]: Not always easy to remember [chuckles] another step.
[Patricia Johnson]: Yeah, sometimes you’re really flying and you don’t know what you did, but once you understand what that is, the next time you self-pleasure, alter your breathing in some way. You’ll collect the data; you’ll see what does this new breath type do to the quality of your orgasm and what does it do to your arousal. It’s a lot of fun, and so I [chuckling] –.
[Angel Donovan]: I’ve had some pretty crazy experiences with breathing, so I can vouch for that. It has a bigger impact; it’s quite amazing, the change [unclear 38:44] experience. Can you give any guidelines as to what to expect, or is it different for everyone? What would faster breathing or deeper breathing or more shallow breathing – are these ways you look at changing breathing?
[Mark Michaels]: Well in the broadest sense, if you’re going to breathe more deeply and more slowly, you’re likely to reduce your level of arousal somewhat. And therefore, especially if you’re worried about ejaculating too fast, it can be a way to slow that down.
Shallow or more rapid breathing tends in most people to –.
[Patricia Johnson]: Can ramp it up.
[Mark Michaels]: Yeah, ramp it up.
[Patricia Johnson]: Or holding your breath can also bring you – a way of peeking over the edge. I mean, all of these things are going to give you different qualities if you want an energizing orgasm. But it is individual, like you pointed out, it very much is individual.
[Angel Donovan]: What is the goal here? Because I know that another thing, as I understand it, is that there’s less emphasis on orgasm. I was wondering, what’s the difference between Western Sexology or culture versus Tantra today? In the West now, it seems like we have a huge emphasis on orgasm versus the experience of sex, if we think about the popular press and everything – everything’s about orgasms. How would you look at that?
[Patricia Johnson]: Tantric practices don’t avoid orgasm, but what they try to do is tap into what the orgasmic state brings to the body and how the body reacts in the orgasmic states. Tap into those things by practices that don’t limit to that physical reaction of orgasm, which is eight seconds of repeated release of muscular tension and then it’s over. Tap into it so that these states can be long-lasting; those altered states or the euphoric states.
[Mark Michaels]: Yeah, and it’s very unfortunate, the way that we’ve gotten so fixated on orgasm in our culture because the tantric approach, as Patricia was saying, is really much more about the journey than the destination. I think we’re so conditioned to be focused on the goal in sex and the goal is getting off that I think a lot of people miss out on a tremendous amount of enjoyment.
The reason for tantric sex, and the reason that Sting said it was seven hours and all that stuff is because in the ritual in Tantra, and generally the approach in tantric sex, is that if you build and prolong arousal for half an hour or more, typically, you’re creating in the body a flood of neurotransmitters and stimulating chemicals and you’re actually changing your consciousness.
When we have an orgasm, we release oxytocin and –.
[Patricia Johnson]: Prolactin.
[Mark Michaels]: Prolactin, which leads to a relaxed state – often to sleep. But if you build and prolong the arousal, you can have the intense, mystical experience that happens for many people at orgasm long before you have an orgasm. And that state can persist for long or after, if you do have one because the drop-off from the prolactin and the oxytocin is much more counterbalanced by the stimulant chemicals that are released prior.
[Angel Donovan]: Yeah. So there are two sides to this. As you were talking, I was thinking that we’re trying to grow our own experience of sex as well we’re trying to grow our experience of sex together. Because right now we’re talking about how you prolong the experience and kind of the excitation that you experience yourself.
Before, with the eye gazing, we were also talking about how we influence each other and our states together. Does Tantra look at both of those areas, or is it both with the goal of improving the spiritual experience of sex together? What’s kind of the goal behind it?
[Patricia Johnson]: Well, you work both with your sexual life with yourself and also with your partner or partners so that your cultivating that rich, inner understanding of your body through a lot of these practices.
[Mark Michaels]: If I had to answer that, I think that it’s much more on the latter. The sexual ritual in Tantra, not the earliest form so much but as it became more spiritualized, the practitioners were there to embody the divine and to serve each other, really.
The idea is that in a sexual encounter, in a ritualized setting, my job is to facilitate Patricia’s experience. Similarly, her job is to facilitate mine, to take me higher. It’s not about me getting off; it’s about me facilitating her and vice versa. And we think this is a really crucial idea that can be applied not just in the bedroom, but in relationships generally, [unclear 43:23] in a society that’s so focused on getting ours.
[Angel Donovan]: And do you think that by – when you were talking again about the experience, with breathing and eye gazing, you’ll take yourself into a different state of consciousness. When you do, your orgasm will be completely different because of that.
Do you think the very fact that you’ve done that is going to influence your partner directly because of the way you’re communicating with each other with the eyes and so on is going to be different because of your state of consciousness? In a way, it’s working on yourself but it’s having an end result with the sexual partnership.
[Mark Michaels]: Yeah, and it’s through the other that – when we give more, we usually get more, and that certainly –.
[Patricia Johnson]: Provided it’s mutual, right?
[Angel Donovan]: Okay, so when you’re talking about giving, what are you talking about?
[Patricia Johnson]: Well, it’s the focus on the other. This can translate to all areas of life with a partner, but during the sexual encounter, it’s just facilitating their arousal, being present, really knowing and taking in the information of how their erotic journey is going. When you both are mutually focused that way, it’s amazing. Now if one is like, “Oh yeah, bring it on! I’m enjoying this” and is not equally bringing that same thing to the table – it’s a give and take, right? We’re looking for a give-give in sex.
[Angel Donovan]: Right. For the people at home, I think you were talking about staying in contact with the other person without just going on your own mission of getting to the end goal of pleasure by running off into the distance and “Yeah, I want to get mine.” You get your orgasm really quickly, but in fact you’re hardly looking at the person and maybe you’re even thinking about the last porn or movie you were watching or something as a visualization in your head, which means you’re completely disconnected from reality.
[Mark Michaels]: Right. It’s even more than that; it’s really a kind of taking pleasure in her pleasure, and using that to build up and build up. If I’m just thinking about “I just want to get off,” I might have an “okay” experience, but if we’re both thinking, “Wow, she’s so turned on; I’m going to get more turned on,” it takes it higher and higher. It’s not just about seeking my own.
[Angel Donovan]: Great. So I want to go back again to Masters and Johnson and your pals [clear 45:36], because they defined the sexual response cycle as four phases: excitement, plateau, orgasmic peaking, and then resolution. I understand the tantric view is kind of more extended than that and it looks a bit different, so I was wondering if that would be an interesting thing to discuss to kind of get the idea of how tantric sex is different.
[Patricia Johnson]: Yeah, you can work off that very same model and if you draw it out as a tantric model, what you’re going to have is that arousal phase that is extended. The arousal goes on, like Mark suggested, around 30 minutes or more – whatever works for each individual listener – but in that arousal period, we’re not talking about friction-type sex or penetrative sex; it can be any form of arousal that works for your body.
Involve any implements, any thoughts or any partners that work for you, because the goal is once you get incredibly aroused, incredibly turned on, that’s when you’re tapping into your brain chemistry. That has a very important purpose in that.
[Mark Michaels]: In the arousal phase, I think – and I actually have never thought about this in this way before until just now – if you look at the Masters and Johnson arousal phase, it’s basically a straight line, and then it’s a straight line with a plateau, and a spike or orgasm and the drop-off.
The tantric arousal phase might be a little bit more jagged; it’s going up, but there’s going to be, potentially at least, some points where it drops off during the arousal. It’s maybe more like a stairway.
[Patricia Johnson]: A stair – steps, yeah.
[Mark Michaels]: And that’s fine. The point is to keep the build going and let the drop-offs happen and then go a little higher and keep going a little higher, and the plateau phase is going to be much less of a factor in the tantric model.
[Patricia Johnson]: It seems to be much shorter, and then the orgasm happens if you choose and the drop-off can be less so that you’re energized and you’re left feeling very, very vibrant.
[Angel Donovan]: Right. There’s another aspect of this I wanted to talk about, because in some of our episodes we’ve talked about the evolution of online porn and how that’s become detrimental for some men through overuse. We’re talking about the dopamine connection and how it affects your motivation and other things just by having got used to this type of stimulation, in ways that you don’t really want. You become demotivated; you lose your experience of sex to a certain extent.
A couple of questions there is, first of all, when you look at self-stimulation from a tantric point of view, it sounded earlier that that’s something normal and is accepted and is looked upon as a good thing. Is that correct?
[Patricia Johnson]: Yeah.
[Mark Michaels]: In our tradition, yes. I mean, I’m sure there are branches that would feel otherwise, but what we got from our teacher is that it’s really where you start, and it can be a magical practice, it can be a practice that you use for self-exploration and self-discovery. It really is crucial to know your own body and to learn how to work with your energy.
[Patricia Johnson]: With this kind of awareness, this is a big attitude shift. If you have a purpose for why you’re self-pleasuring and you want to glean knowledge from yourself, it’s very acceptable to use whatever tool works for you, and that can include visual stimulation or erotica on the Internet.
I think sometimes the masturbatory practices gets conflated when things become dramatized, when things become compulsive. If any type of activity becomes a compulsive activity where it reaches your inner self, your inner values or anything like that, it becomes problematic. But it’s not always necessarily the activity that’s the problem; it’s how you’re going about the activity.
Another issue people have is their masturbatory practices, if they’re only able to orgasm with extreme stimulation, a very firm grip of your male body or something else like that, then you develop a sexual response that no partner can replicate for you.
[Mark Michaels]: Yeah, we all have our tried and true way to get off, and that’s fine, but if we just keep carving that same groove, it can become a problem. Being flexible in your self-pleasuring practices is a great way to keep yourself flexible as a sexual being, generally.
[Patricia Johnson]: Basic practice on that is just to switch to your non-dominant hand and you’re going to learn something new; you’re going to have a whole different experience.
[Angel Donovan]: Yeah, I mean it’s very different from the porn. The porn, I think one of the arguments is that the experience is very unique and you’re actually grooving that same groove – to use your analogy – the connection of your neurons every single time, and it becomes very unique, and you need more and more stimulation to get the same effects. And then that has some negative impact on energy when you start to masturbate 10 times/day; some guys are masturbating more than that because of this groove that they’ve started to get into.
You also touched upon the energy and maintaining energy in the Tantra practice. As I understand it, part of the Tantra practice is about maintaining some of the man’s energy because the stereotype is that the guy falls asleep after sex. How does Tantra look at that element and the fact that the man tends to get tired after sex and regulating that?
[Mark Michaels]: There’s a lot of variation in attitudes about that. The whole idea of it being a loss of energy and stuff is more associated with the Taoist tradition than the tantric tradition. In our training, the idea is that if you work with the energy and you visualize spreading the energy through the body in various ways and you build the arousal, there’s no meaningful change or loss of energy when you ejaculate, as a man.
We feel it, and in our background, the non-ejaculatory thing is really useful as a learning tool because it’s a great way to start learning how to have non-ejaculatory, full-body orgasms. But if you make it into a goal or you treat it as the right way to do it, you’re again falling back into a trap.
[Patricia Johnson]: Also the falling asleep is – we encourage people to keep their current sexual practices and their understanding of sex and as they look in to Tantra, think of expanding that – adding to it, not losing or denying their earlier sexuality. Being able to masturbate and know you’re going to fall asleep is such a great tool, and I would [chuckling] hate for it [clear 52:15] to keep that up.
[Mark Michaels]: It’s your most basic form of sex magic, right? You have an intention to fall asleep, do your sexual act and boom – you fall asleep. It’s perfect!
[Angel Donovan]: Yeah, it’s great. That’s definitely a good situation for that use.
Well thank you very much for your time today. I want to round off with a couple of personal questions to see if you’ve kind of encountered – because obviously you’ve had a lot of experience in this area of your lives. Tell me if this is too sensitive – what was the best sexual experience or aspect of a relationship to date that you’ve experienced, thanks to Tantra or just in general?
[Patricia Johnson]: Yesterday [laughter].
[Angel Donovan]: It gets better every day?
[Patricia Johnson]: Seriously, yesterday was quite amazing.
[Mark Michaels]: Yeah.
[Patricia Johnson]: We took a whole afternoon to just play around and explore; it was really amazing.
[Angel Donovan]: Can you kind of describe that to the users in terms of – what could they expect, like what’s out there? Just to kind of open their eyes a bit to that walk. How would you describe that experience?
[Mark Michaels]: Well basically, we’ve been working extremely hard. We’ve not really set aside a whole day to just interact together in some time, and so we did yesterday.
[Patricia Johnson]: We set up a massage table, we sat naked together, we talked a lot and then moved into making love a little bit, and then not, and then sometimes practicing something called Karezza, which is a meditative sort of non –.
[Mark Michaels]: You insert when you don’t have an erection, you use a lot of lube and you just try to stay together, united, without an emotion.
[Patricia Johnson]: It’s just a very sweet way of making love. It’s a way of just languidly going through the day and having a few hours together. We’re usually like, we got to get out to dinner plans later on, it’s either now or never, and then that can affect the quality of the sex [unclear 54:18].
[Mark Michaels]: It’s so great. It was just this very languid, and then a very, very whole-body focused kind of encounter. And then gradually, as the day went on, we did get into a more friction-y kind of sex, but there was this very prolonged buildup, and it was really just very tantric.
[Angel Donovan]: Great, and so –.
[Patricia Johnson]: Yeah, I think even it’s important to limit your social media before these kind of days too, because any second you could get an image or email that knocks your brain off where you really want to be.
[Angel Donovan]: Well I imagined you’d actually put your phones in another room or something.
[Mark Michaels]: Oh yes.
[Patricia Johnson]: Oh yeah [chuckles]. Yeah, it totally [crosstalk 55:03].
[Angel Donovan]: Because that’s very distracting. I find it terrible; there were so many times I’ve just deleted my Facebook account [laughter]. A terrible thing.
[Mark Michaels]: [Unclear 55:11] We have one of these phones that tells you who’s calling, vocalizing it. I don’t know if you can turn it off. We have the phone in the other room, but still sometimes we can hear who it is and it’s like –.
[Patricia Johnson]: Sometimes it can be distracting.
[Mark Michaels]: “Mom!” [Chuckling]
[Patricia Johnson]: Why do they know to call then? [Laughs]
[Angel Donovan]: Great! Thank you for sharing that. I know some of these things were a bit less comfortable for some people to share, so I think it’s very valuable to open people’s eyes a bit to different ways of doing things. Who besides yourself would you recommend for high-quality advice in this area?
[Mark Michaels]: Barbara Carrellas.
[Patricia Johnson]: Yeah, Barbara Carrellas.
[Mark Michaels]: Quite well-known, she’s a very good friend of ours. She is explicitly a neotantric teacher; she makes no bones about it. She’s got great integrity, she knows her stuff and she really is wonderful to work with.
[Patricia Johnson]: And if your listeners want to learn more about our work, then can visit our website which is www.michaelsandjohnson.com [chuckling].
[Angel Donovan]: Very easy to remember there. Well hopefully none of them are going to get confused by all the references to Masters and Johnson [laughter] [unclear 56:20] – Michaels and Johnson.
[Mark Michaels]: We’re alive and they’re not [laughter].
[Angel Donovan]: Well great, thank you very much for your time today. And there’s actually one question that we ask everyone who comes on the show, so I’d love to ask you guys that too as a final adios.
What would be your top three recommendations to help men improve this aspect of their life as fast as possible?
[Mark Michaels]: One would definitely be, start exercising your pubococcygeal muscles. We didn’t talk about that too much, but it’s really –.
[Angel Donovan]: Okay, that’s a very long word as well. So a quick –.
[Mark Michaels]: The PC muscles, the kegel muscles, are used to start and stop the flow of urine – that's really the best way to identify them. That's really crucial.
[Patricia Johnson]: I would say, I’d encourage them to be curious and educate yourself as much as you can about sexuality, sexual response, physiology. Everybody loves an intelligent, curious, interested lover.
[Mark Michaels]: And related to that, ask your partner what works for you. Don’t be afraid to be told what works and what doesn’t; don’t feel that your masculinity is being threatened if your partner’s giving you some direction.
[Patricia Johnson]: “A little to the left!” [Laughter]
[Angel Donovan]: Yeah, it certainly can be very helpful. Thank you very much for your time today; it’s been great talking to you guys. It’s a very new topic for us; we haven’t talked about this before, so it’s been a great introduction.
Of course there’ll be links to your books and so on in the show notes and I will have that reference to your site as well there. Is there anything else that we should be adding in terms of –.
[Patricia Johnson]: No –.
[Angel Donovan]: Facebook? Anything else where you’re present or you can be reached easily?
[Mark Michaels]: We’re on Facebook as well and Twitter.
[Patricia Johnson]: Our Twitter account is @tantrap as in Patricia, m as in Mark - @tantrapm on Twitter. Our fifth book is coming out probably early 2015, so maybe we’ll hit you up and we can continue our conversation again.
[Angel Donovan]: That would be great, because it’s obviously a very deep subject that we’ve just really [unclear 58:20]. I can feel we’ve only just touched the first superficial part of it today, but I think it was a good introduction nonetheless to give people an idea of what Tantra really is all about.
[Mark Michaels]: Well the questions were great. I really appreciate that.
[Patricia Johnson]: Yeah, thanks.
[Angel Donovan]: Yeah, well thank you very much for your time and I look forward to speaking again sometime.
[Patricia Johnson]: Okay.
[Mark Michaels]: Great, have a good day!
[Angel Donovan]: You too, bye!
[Mark Michaels]: Bye!
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